American Vice President Dick Cheney is in Ukraine on the final leg of his tour aimed at bolstering support for US allies in the southern Caucasus. The visit comes at a difficult time. A feud between President Victor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko meant he had to hold separate talks. Cheney appealed to Ukraine’s divided leaders to unite and forge closer links withthe West.
Earlier this week the prime minister’s party blocked a motion criticising Russia’s military action against Georgia and instead proposed the president’s powers be curbed. Mr Yushchenko, a staunch supporter of Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili, is threatening to dissolve parliament and call a snap election.
The crisis in Ukraine could prove to be a major stumbling block for its ambitions to join the EU and for those who are pushing for NATO membership, the latter, a vital issue on Dick Cheney’s agenda.